A ticketed event celebrating White Rock pier’s 100th anniversary has received the go-ahead from city council.
Council voted unanimously Monday to back the pier party – a project of Semiahmoo Arts that includes a beer/wine garden – following a more detailed report on its projected costs to the city.
The mayor’s support came with a caution regarding the three-hour Aug. 28 event’s proximity to an active rail line in combination with the availability of alcohol.
“I don’t want to see any misplaced judgment… where liquor rules over everything else,” said Wayne Baldwin. “We cannot have an event where there’s a possibility something’s going to go wrong.”
Semiahmoo Arts first asked for the city’s support to use the pier for the party earlier this month. Historically, private functions on the landmark have been limited to commercial-filming uses.
In addition, the arts group asked council to back their request for a liquor licence for the occasion, which is to also mark the group’s 40th anniversary.
In a report to council Monday, leisure services director Eric Stepura estimated the city’s in-kind cost at $3,500. The total includes $300 in lost parking revenue, $400 to remove and dispose of related garbage and recycling, and $500 for policing.
In discussing the latter, Coun. Bill Lawrence suggested the arts group rethink how much of a police presence will be needed.
“There might be a necessity for more,” Lawrence said. “You’re looking at a quite long and extended piece of real estate.”
Coun. Al Campbell said he supports the event “110 per cent,” but predicted policing costs “are going to be much higher.”
Stepura’s report notes the estimate may change depending on the special-occasions permit, should it be approved by the Liquor Control & Licensing Board. He added that event organizers have committed to providing certified security personnel, as well as a crossing guard at the train tracks.
Tickets to the pier party – $100 per person – will be limited to 700; the first 200 feet of the pier is to remain open to the public.
Stepura noted that staff support for the event does not mean the pier will be routinely used for private functions.
“It’s not our intent to rent out the pier on a regular basis,” he said. “It’s a 100-year celebration.”